Whether it’s a belligerent brother, insensitive in-laws or a prickly parent, the holidays can play havoc with your thoughts and emotions.  The holidays are filled  triggers for almost every emotion we’ve ever had.  No wonder some of us feel like we have an emotional ping-pong game in our head until January brings relief.

Here’s an example of what an alternative could be like.

As we have done for years, my husband and I cook a Thanksgiving lunch for his mother and kids.  We divide duties and my responsibility is the turkey.  This year I took it easy.  Rather than roasting a turkey breast I purchased one already roasted.  It was sure to be juicy, moist and quick.  And I could enjoy some much-needed downtime before our guests arrived.

When we opened the package to retrieve the our turkey breast on Thanksgiving day, we were greeted by a smoked turkey thigh.  Not the breast we were expecting or what the label said we would find inside.  Dark meat is not a family favorite and now that is all that we had.

By now you may be imagining your own reactions to such an event and that’s exactly when the ping-pong of emotions starts.  We started to go there but stopped.  It was our time to choose a new response.

The mislabeled package could have resulted in anger and disappointment.  Instead we burst into laughter and decided to create an experiment.  We started listing how many ways we, or others, might have reacted to this unwelcome surprise.  We may have exaggerated a bit, but that is part of the fun of experimenting with a new holiday tradition.

Here are a few of the auto-pilot reactions we imagined…

  • Get blaming… that @#$%@ grocery story, they always screw things up. I’ll show them!!   I’ll NEVER shop there again.
  • Get Judgie on yourself… I SHOULD have checked on that package even though the label was correct.  “Stop should-ing on yourself” brought more laughing.
  • Get superior… see, that’s why I ALWAYS cook my own turkey and slave all morning just to be certain this NEVER happens to me.
  • Get righteous… race back to the grocery story (assuming they are open a few hours Thanksgiving morning). Loudly share my disappointment, demand my money back AND a replacement with the right product.  Only to find out they don’t have any more turkey breasts in stock.
  • Get grumpie… the day is ruined.

Oh the drama!  We laughed until our cheeks hurt.  After all, admit it.  Most of us really like the mashed potatoes and stuffing as much or more than the turkey.  I don’t think I will intentionally select a turkey thigh next year but we will always remember the choice to have a Thanksgiving turkey experiment this year rather than the upset.

Please share if you have a few memorable or funny reactions of your own.  Since you might have a few more opportunities this year, what can you do to transform holiday upsets into experiments?


Happy Holidays!







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